Friday, 29 January 2016 14:12

The Reputation Philosophy

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For success in the 21st century
Our Motto: It starts with you, but it's not about you. ©

It starts with you: wherever you are in life or your career at this very moment- not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now. Whether you are a student just starting out in life, or an employee that plans to move up the corporate ladder, or one just trying to hold on to their present job or, you own or are a partner in a business. It is about goals and how to create a plan to accomplish those goals
…but it's not about you, refers to whom, and how your goals can be most efficient and attainable in a timely manner.

• If you are a student, you have to learn what employers are looking for in an employee, and make a conscious effort to meet their expectations. All new hires must fit into the current corporate culture to ensure the success of the business.
• Current employees must understand and buy into the corporate mission by being fully engaged and committed to that goal. Employees must have a customer-centric mind set.
• Business owners must be aware and engaged with a customer-centric mission. The company structure - People, Product, Process and Promotion - must be built and operated to meet consumer needs. If a company has rules that make the company operations easier, but are inconvenient to consumers, it very likely will result in a loss of returning customers, which can lead to a major loss in future revenue.
Personal Customer Service Pet Peeves: Why would a restaurant not allow substitutions for lunch specials? Why can’t you have a cup of soup instead of French fries? They’re the same price on the menu. This is an example of rules that inconvenience customers. Employees must be empowered to resolve consumer complaints and to say “yes,” without getting management involved, in order to give their customers the product they are seeking.
Focusing on business, the owner or CEO is always the one responsible for how well the business is doing or not doing. The new, world-wide class of customers makes doing well a lot more complicated. Why? Mainly because consumers have access to information 24/7/365, and to an unprecedented extent, are educating themselves about you and your product and/or services prior to every sale. Also included in the mix is the quality and timeliness of all contacts or interactions with consumers, prior to or after the sale, that requires mastery of the variety of communication tools used by consumers every day, be it website, social media, texting, or telephone.
According to ReeVoo, a pioneer of Retail Ratings & Reviews, a massive 88% of consumers “sometimes or always” consult a review when making a purchase, and 60% were more likely to purchase from a site that includes customer reviews.
Most companies claim they listen to and are responsive to customer complaints. The successful, growing businesses are focused and working to catch up to the customers in order to fully understand their expectations. Many companies are slow to change, and some even tend to resist change of any kind. Business owners can no longer ignore the changes the customer is making in how they purchase. An underperforming business can no longer cite vague causes such as “the economy,” or “the competition, (which includes “the internet” ). Most often, it is the CEO who lacks the knowledge or insight concerning current consumer practices, thus being out of touch with the way business is being conducted!
We help our clients understand these trends, and focus the business on building and maintaining a customer-centric, reputation-based philosophy. That philosophy must be created and woven into every aspect of the business, including customer service, sales and marketing.
In stark contrast, gone are the days of using the business-centric “branding” philosophy, where a business focuses on buying ads to declare “Our Customers are Number One!” I can guarantee you that I can find customers who would disagree, very often in public forums and review sites. According to Yankelovich Consumer Report “75% of people don't believe that companies tell the truth in paid advertisements”.

So the question is, why do business owners continue to buy thousands of dollars in TV, print and/or outdoor advertising? According to customer centric Reputation philosophy those monies would be best directed to product improvements, streamlining processes, advanced customer training for every employee on all levels, and upgrading the lines communication that customers frequently utilize to communicate.
Your customers have already decided if they were or were not number one in their most recent transaction with you. The pushback is greater if your customers do not feel like they are number one, as they see your business ads, claiming “Our customers are number one!” Out of frustration and/or displeasure, customers can and will tell all of their online friends about their experiences. It behooves businesses to receive positive reviews from consumers, rather than negative comments. Therefore, it’s essential that they feel like they are “number one” when they walk out of your business; rather than being told so by your business ads.
One easy way to learn about your customers’ experiences with your product or service is to simply ask them. I encourage you to do so. Do you know how your customers preferred communications tools? Do they prefer phone calls, emails, or texting? How have you determined this? If via customer surveys, how and when? Should you send a survey after each purchase? All those questions need to be answered by the customers, not the business. From the surveys you can build a database of information. Customers should be asked, at the minimum, three simple questions:

1. What was your experience?
2. How can we make it better?
3. What did we do well?

So the phrase, “It starts with you, but it's not about you”, refers to “it starts with you as an owner or employee of the company or a student, but it’s all about your customers” As a student, we have to demonstrate by example how’ll we’ll be part of a team focused on growing the business. As an employee or business owner, we need to create a positive customer experience every time, every day. It is not enough to have a customer service department, because creating and delivering an excellent customer experience is an overall philosophy, a distinct way of doing business. The initial step would be to institute measures to gauge satisfaction and react accordingly, via customer feedback surveys, and also by monitoring those consumer sites that post user reviews with a system that is timely, measurable and replicable.
The good news is, it costs very little to implement a reputation oriented campaign, especially compared to the ad budgets of “Branding” oriented programs. Branding might best be left to manufacturers. There are many Ford dealers, for example, and Ford Motor Co. has already done the work of establishing the brand. But the consumer who wants a Ford will seek out the dealer with the best reputation, the one that garners the best online reviews.
More good news: reputation-based programs are easy to implement, and can be phased in to minimize workplace disruptions. There’s no need for a “D-day” style rollout wherein the employee comes to work only to find out that everything has changed, everything is now different.
The biggest, most important step is to simply begin; using baby steps to help everyone assimilate the new focus and learn its ins and outs.


Last modified on Monday, 15 February 2016 13:40
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